Tremendous Increase in Number of Employees 55+

The Department of Labor recently published a blog on the aging labor force. The blog started with this fact:

“Our workforce is aging. By 2024, nearly 1 in 4 people in the labor force are projected to be age 55 or older.”

In 1994, 11.9% of the labor force was 55 or older.  In 2004, the percentage had grown to 15.6%. In 2014, the percentage reached 21.7%. By 2024, the percentage is expected to be 24.8%. That’s quite a trend!

Reasons include:

Many of those 55 or older are healthy and active with long-life expectancies. More income is needed to maintain healthy, enjoyable lifestyles.

Changes in pension plan offerings has taken away the guarantee of traditional pensions. In 2015, defined benefit pension plans were offered by only 8 percent of private industry establishments.   Defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, were offered by 47 percent of private industry establishments.  However, voluntary contribution plans are dependent upon the amount that workers choose to invest and how the funds perform.  There is uncertainty of earnings as opposed to the defined benefit pension plans which provide lifetime periodic payments to the retiree.

Many of those 55+ enjoy being a part of the workforce whether in their traditional industry or in something completely different. In addition to extra income, remaining in the workforce allows individuals to maintain or increase skills levels, to stay “on top” of technological changes and to enjoy the camaraderie of co-workers.

In our staffing company, we encourage retirees to return to the workforce on a temporary, part-time or full-time basis. Temporary or contract assignments provide the flexibility of time off for travel, hobbies and other commitments.  Part-time provides “just enough” work to stay involved without the heavy commitment of a full-time career.  Full-time is an option for those who want to continue to build their savings or who just want to “not retire”.

The number of people 55 and over remaining in the workforce is a trend that is likely to continue. It is likely that an article within the next few years will discuss the growth in those 70 and over who choose to remain in the workforce!  The many options make this a wonderful opportunity for both employees and employers.

Julie Aguilar

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